Last week’s conflict between Eric Reid and Malcolm Jenkins left a lot of unanswered questions.
We knew that the confrontation ahead of the game between the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles stemmed from disagreement over social justice protests during the national anthem and the NFL funding of the Players Coalition. Reid called Jenkins out by name in the locker room.
“We believe a lot of players should have stepped up for Colin,” Reid said last Sunday. “I believe Malcolm capitalized on the situation, he co-opted the movement that was started by Colin [Kaepernick] to get his organization funded. It’s cowardly. He sold us out.”
That organization is the Players Coalition, a group headed by Jenkins and former NFL receiver Anquan Boldin.
Reid explains why he thinks Jenkins is a sellout
On Sunday, Reid provided some clarity on what led to him having to be separated from Jenkins prior to the game.
Reid described negotiations that took place between players and owners over kneeling during the national anthem. But it was his account of Jenkins’ role that really pinpointed the source of his anger.
Reid: Jenkins asked me to stop protesting
“Malcolm called and asked me if I would stop protesting — ‘be comfortable ending my demonstrations’ were his words — if the NFL made a donation to the Players Coalition,” Reid said. “I tried not to blow a gasket and tell him no. Then he asked me, ‘Well how much? How much will it take for you to stop?'”
“So I ended that conversation with him. I told the other players who were involved with the coalition the content of our conversation. We then removed — a couple players, myself and I think three or four others removed ourselves from the Players Coalition via tweet.”
That statement goes a long way in explaining the vast gulf between Reid and Jenkins and exactly why Reid views Jenkins as a sellout.
Players Coalition accepted almost $90M from NFL
The Players Coalition accepted almost $90 million in funding from the NFL. Jenkins and Boldin have been using those funds to raise awareness for ballot initiatives ahead of November’s elections on issues like gerrymandering and mass incarceration while getting out the vote.
Those are certainly issues that Jenkins and Reid would see eye-to-eye on.
But it’s the perceived quid pro quo that has incensed Reid. Ending the protests for a price negotiated with NFL owners all while Kaepernick remains without a job is a source of disgust for Reid — the very definition of selling out.
Reid: Jenkins stopped his protests after negotiations
And according to Reid, that’s exactly what Jenkins did.
“That Sunday Malcolm stopped protesting,” Reid said. “I think he said something along the lines, I think it’s time for everybody to stop protesting. And he didn’t protest the rest of the year.”
Reid, meanwhile, remains one of the few players in the NFL who kneels during the national anthem.
Reid also labeled Jenkins as a neo-colonialist, referring to a colonial practice of a conquering nations to install a resident of the developing nation to enforce their bidding. Basically, he sees Jenkins as the inside man for the owners.
Reid sees Jenkins as a ‘black figurehead’ for NFL owners
The bidding of the owners in this case is to protect their financial interests. Reid described a point in the meeting in which Houston Texans owner Bob McNair brought up player protests as “the elephant in the room” and Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula chimed in noting sponsors that he had lost in the wake of protests.
“‘We need to put a band-aid on this, and we need a black figurehead to do it,'” Reid said of Pegula’s stating in the meeting.
Reid then said that McNair told players in the meeting to “make sure to tell your comrades to stop that protesting business” as a condition of the league offer of funds for the Players Coalition.
For Reid, of course, that condition was a non-starter. And for Jenkins to have accepted those terms in his eyes places Jenkins as the “black figurehead” for the owners in a compromised cause.
Jenkins has not responded to Reid’s latest allegations. But this is certainly a conversation that’s not over.
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